TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono today welcomed Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approval of S-2114, the “Global Warming Response Act.”
“The United States has five percent of the world’s population, yet produces over a quarter of all greenhouse gases,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “As a leading producer of greenhouse gases, we have a moral obligation to future generations to cut those emissions now and prevent the catastrophic consequences that may result from global warming.”
The bill, S-2214, would require that NJ reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at or below 1990 levels by the year 2020. Furthermore, emissions would be required to be 80% below 2006 levels by the year 2050.
“These are ambitious goals that will require the wholesale changes necessary to reverse global warming. We no longer have the luxury of enacting timid half-measures with the hopes that scientists were wrong about global warming. We need to act now,” added Senator Buono.
Senator Buono noted that most leading climatologists agree that significant reductions in green house gas emissions in the near future would begin to reverse global warming trends and that since automobiles and public utilities are the biggest sources of greenhouse gases, DEP efforts will focus on those areas.
“This legislation sets up a comprehensive solution to global warming. It will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase energy efficiency, resulting in significant cost savings for both families and businesses,” explained Senator Buono
In order to accomplish the goals in the bill, the Department of Environmental protection would be required to inventory greenhouse gas emissions within the State at the current, 2006 and 1990 levels.
Additionally, the Department would establish a monitoring program by 2009 that would identify all significant sources of greenhouse gases in New Jersey and report the changes in annual emissions with notes on the progress towards the 2020 and 2050 goals.
“The Bush administration has failed us on global warming and energy policy. We can’t afford to wait two more years for the next president to implement these changes. 2050 may seem like it’s a long time off, but we must ensure that progress is being made every day towards our goals,” explained Senator Buono.
The bill would require the DEP, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and other state agencies to make recommendations to the Legislature no later than June 30, 2008 for reaching the 2020 goals and no later than June 20, 2010 for reaching the 2050 goals. The BPU would also be authorized to adopt electric and gas energy efficiency portfolio standards that would require public utilities to reduce utility usage by 20% by the year 2020.